So I’m beginning a series that Mike Bickle taught on the Life of David. You can find these teachings HERE. I’m putting my Jeremiah studies on the back-burner for awhile because I feel that I am in a season where I could learn a lot from this great King of Israel. So though I am going to get right back into Jeremiah when I’m done, I felt like this study is a necessary precursor.
I think a lot of times we can see something that is truth… but our reaction will still not be a godly reaction because our heart is not aligned with His. In his first session, Mike talks about how David first and foremost had a revelation of God’s heart and an understanding of what God’s heart is like. And because of this, He had a desire to obey God’s heart. That makes sense, you know? Before we can be really obedient to God, we need to really understand how God feels and what His heart is for the situations and people around us. An understanding of His heart is the motivation we need to remain in obedience. If we don’t carry ourselves with the heart of God, even though we may be walking in truth, we can do more damage than good in some cases. I know I have been guilty of this. It’s human nature and that’s why our lives have to be a constant discovery of the facets of who God really is.
Saul and David were two very different characters in the history of Israel. As Bickle explains, Saul was a form of judgment on the nation of Israel for walking outside the will of God. They demanded a king before it was time for them to have a king and thus were rewarded with a demonized king. God already had in mind to put David on the throne because He knew that David had a heart after Him. However, God used the tyranny of Saul as a training period for David to be the best King he could be. Good leaders are often bred under situations like David’s. How absolutely terrifying this truth is! The trick here is to make sure that our heart for the Lord remains the same as David’s does during those awful periods of time. David made a lot of mistakes during this time but when he made mistakes his grief was more about how he had offended God than how he had been exposed… which was very unlike Saul’s reaction who really just cared about preserving himself.
Me and Jesus at nighttime equals incredible. I have had some of the sweetest moments of my life with the Lord in the middle of the night. I have always been a night owl. I love being in my room alone with the Lord when I know everyone else is asleep. It feels like just me and Him hanging out. Sometimes I’ll just lay on my bed and cry as His presence washes over me. I don’t need to say anything to Him and wake up my roommates. He already knows my heart. Sometimes He has a lot to say at night and sometimes we just sit together and enjoy eachother. These incredible nights first began when I worked the evening shift at a bookstore in Dallas. I usually got home at around 11pm in which I would immediately watch Conan O’Brian while I ate my Ramen noodles and then turn Conan off, lay across the living room floor on my back and stare at the ceiling fan. My roommates were all asleep so nobody could hear my conversations with Him. We would talk about my family, my church, my failures, His plans and other items that were always up for discussion.
When I was in Fire in the Night– an all night internship at the International House of Prayer I learned that there were many verses and actually whole Psalms devoted to encountering God in the night.
“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” Psalm 16:7
“Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil;” Psalm 17:3
“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” Psalm 63:6
“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” Psalm 119:48
Psalm 134 was believed to have been sung to the nightwatch as they entered tabernacle of David. Yes. There was a nightwatch back then. The tabernacle had 24/7 worship and prayer and so David actually had hired guys that came in and hung out with the Lord all night long.
“1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.
3 May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 134
I was able to be a part of one of these nightwatches in the summer and winter of 06. I came into the prayer room at midnight and paced the stinky floor of the IHOP prayer room until 6am. I would like to say it was heaven and sometimes, yes it was, but there was a lot of time where God was preparing and strengthening me for many things yet to come. It was a time where He was speaking destiny over me in the middle of the night. Where he was calling me to a place of really hearing His voice and working out the rough areas of my life that I hadn’t yet submitted to Him.
And not only do I encounter Him when I am awake at night but I encounter Him in my dreams. In my dreams I see Him washing my feet, sitting on the side of my bed having a conversation with me, or giving me a hug. Sometimes I encounter Him in ways that are NOT so sweet. Like maybe I’m exposing demonic forces and wake up speaking in tongues at 5am (like this week) , fighting in an endtimes battle, evolving into the prophet Jeremiah, or maybe He’s revealing secrets to me about the future that aren’t so pleasant.
So when I heard Norah sing that first line this week I couldn’t help but feel He was calling me back to that night season again… and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
I remember hearing one of the strangest analogies when I was at IHOP. My prayer room team leader compared our hearts to a pound of frozen ground beef. Set the ground beef before a fire and little by little, the frost disappears from the surface and the ground beef is thawed. He was explaining that if we posture our hearts before the fire of God’s love, the hardness that enshrouds our heart will eventually evaporate.
My heart has been feeling that way lately… like a pound of frozen ground beef. I read a book this morning that reminded me of the moments I’ve had when my heart has been tender and I have felt a ‘groan’ in my heart for more of God. I love that feeling. That feeling that you are so fixed on the love of God for you… manifest presence of Jesus that you can’t move… you can’t think… you can’t talk… you can only revel in the pleasures of God. Any distraction, any movement and you are terrified it will all go away and you will do anything to keep Him near.
So this morning I thought a few things… I thought…
Maybe I’m going to leave my agenda behind this morning. Maybe I’m not going to go by my usual scheduled prayer sessions. Adoration first, then prayer, then listening, then journaling, then reading my Bible. NOPE. I’m just going to sit here and let Him love me because He loves to love me. I’m going to place my cold heart before His flame.
Thus the thaw begins.
Today I was talking with Linda, one of my spiritual moms from IHOP and she, who is a violin player, told me that the Lord has been speaking to her about joining a worship team again. The Lord specifically told her whose team she needed to be on… though the person was not even leading a team yet. Two weeks after the Lord spoke this to her, the person whom the Lord spoke to her about started a worship team. She thought this was a sign from the Lord, for sure. When she emailed the person and asked them if she could join their team, they responded that since their team was so new, they didn’t want to establish more members then they could handle. Linda was disappointed because she felt this was positively from the Lord. But she spoke to me something that made practical sense: “just because you feel like something is from the Lord, doesn’t mean that you or anyone else doesn’t have a choice in the matter. It’s okay to say no and it’s okay to move on if someone else says no. The Lord doesn’t always give us just one option.” Little did she know what had been on my mind for the past couple of weeks.
For months I’ve been getting the same prophetic word from one of my spiritual fathers– “Brooke. The Lord is going to surprise you. You have a choice and the Lord wants you to know that you can’t mess this up.” I guess there is the security factor that I like… I like it when the Lord speaks to me very clearly about things but I think what makes God such a great Father is that He gives us options… he lets us have a choice… we can disobey Him and choose the wrong thing but I think that He often asks us what we want… like, “Brooke… do you want the pink dress or the white dress…” both are good options… and would be good choices, but He wants us to really want what we choose. We actually get a say in things sometimes. This is part of what makes life with God such an adventure.
I was in second grade in Mrs. Franklin’s class when she directed us to write a fictional story about our class discovering dinosaur bones on a field trip. I remember the excitement I felt as I penned sixteen pages of glorious second-grade prose into my spiral notebook. I created an elaborate story, complete with dinosaur bones coming alive and scaring old Mrs. Franklin. I had never felt more awake in my young life than I did as I crafted that imaginary story.
In school I was not the mathematician or the scientist. I never did well in those areas but when it came to writing and literature, my teachers would often tell my parents “encourage her with this! she has a gift!”. I was a daydreamer and instead of listening intently during 4th grade math, I would spin fairy stories in my head, come up with character names and even details about their 19th century clothing. This daydreaming would come back to bite me when I received my report card but it paid off when I would win the county creative writing contest or win awards in the Duluth News Tribune for my creative narrative and eventually, in high school, become student editor of Speak Out, a column for local teens in the Ashland Daily Press.
I went on to study English Literature at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock but three years into my degree, a personal tragedy struck and I dropped out of college, heart-broken. It would be years before I was able to be focused enough to write again… or would even have the desire to do so.
Being in the prayer room while on staff at the International House of Prayer began to stir something in me that was akin to that feeling I had in second grade. That feeling of heat in my belly, probably even aroused by Holy Spirit, that would urge me to communicate ideas that were on His heart. I began writing in a blog truths that the Lord had been teaching me, but in my head, was still hesitant to acknowledge myself as a writer again.
After moving to Ottertail, Minnesota and joining the Firestarters writers group, I felt a pressure to create that I had not felt in a long time. Unfortunately, working full-time as a legal secretary, didn’t offer me a lot of time to ponder and think and create. I felt miserable at my job, exhausted all the time, and trapped into doing something that I hated just so that I could get by with my very meager income.
Then it began with a dream (as it usually does). I walked into a bedroom where both of my parents (who are no longer married to each other) were sitting on a bed. They asked me what I was reading and I responded that I was reading Journey of Desire by John Eldredge and Dreaming With God by Bill Johnson. My mom began asking me what I wanted to do with my life and in the dream I replied that I wanted to write and preach the Gospel. My mom then informed me that I needed to quit my job and said some other things that I don’t care to write about at the moment. Huh. Well I couldn’t just quit my job…. could I?
A couple weeks after that dream I had another. It was simply a snapshot dream where my boss came to me and let me go from my job. I woke up, knowing I would be let go, and that it was for a specific purpose. Three weeks later, it was exactly as I expected… my boss pulled me into his office and told me I was no longer needed at the office. Instead of distress I felt absolutely relieved. I knew it was the Lord directing me into a better path… one that fit me perfectly.
Days after my last day at the law office I traveled to Kansas City, where I still am, for a time of prayer and re-focusing. Thoughts of inadequacy plagued my mind. I’m not good enough to do this. How can I ever pull this off? Does God really desire to bless me enough that I actually get to do something that I love to do for a living? At the Awakening Service on Wednesday night, a woman from the prophecy teams spoke to me and said that she saw something creative around me. She said that I didn’t feel that I was good enough to do what He was calling me to do. I knodded in agreement. She looked me straight in the eyes and firmly told me that what I did was powerful and it would impact many. If that wasn’t enough, the Lord knew I needed some specific confirmation. So this morning, I went to check my email and noticed a message from a nightwatch leader at the House of Prayer. This is not someone that I communicate with much at all and in the email he tells me he has a prophetic word for me and that he has been thinking about it all week long. He blatantly tells me that I am called to be a writer. How is that for confirmation?
I am very eager and excited to start this journey and I know from this day forward, my life will never be the same. Aside from my primary calling as a lover of God, this is the day I know myself as a writer. And that, my friends, is my journey into this knowledge.
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
I remember the first time I really felt like I heard the voice of the Lord. It wasn’t what you might think. I didn’t hear it audibly as if it were booming from heaven but it might as well have been just as clear. I was in my bedroom in Dallas, sitting silently before the Lord and asking Him to speak to me. I had just been disobedient. Because of mistrust and fear I had put my hands into something and tried to control a situation that wasn’t mine to control. I didn’t trust Him. I was face down on my bed when I heard Him tell me He was taking me into the wilderness.
14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor [b] a door of hope.
There she will respond [c] as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
16 “In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master
About a year after hearing that voice, I ended up on staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. The Lord used this time to help me differntiate the voice of the enemy and His own voice. His voice doesn’t contain accusation or condemnation and it doesn’t result in fear. His voice may sting a little but the end result is always hope. It always results in peace. It always results in love.
I think so many of us don’t hear the voice of the Lord because we are afraid of what He will say to us. But the truth is that he is so intrigued, so interested in every aspect of our lives and even if His voice has a little sting that may lead to death of self… if we heed his voice, it will eventually lead to resurrection life.
And it’s not only correction that He desires to give. He may want to simply tell us that He loves us. He may want to speak to us about our destiny. He may want to tell us who we are to Him. His voice changes everything. It changes our perception of circumstances, of people… of ourselves.
Listen for the voice every day and it will answer. Trust me.